I'd like to thank the many readers who commented on last week's column about the school budget. Most comments were positive, which I appreciated very much. But one reader had an extremely helpful criticism that I appreciated even more.
This reader made the important point that members of the public should be allowed to question the school budget without being painted as somehow being against the school or against the children. I didn't mean to imply that, but I can see how someone could read what I wrote and draw that conclusion.
So while I stand by what I wrote, I'd like to add that I agree wholeheartedly with this reader. There's never anything wrong with asking questions. We should always feel free to question how our money is spent, and to object if we feel moved to do so. I also applaud the civil spirit in which the criticism was offered-which matches the civil tone of most of the emails that have been circulating on both sides of the issue. I think this whole conversation speaks well of our community, and I'm sure we can keep it up.
OK, on to business. I've been asked to inform readers that the animal control officer will be conducting a dog census in Westport and Wadhams starting April 1. State law requires all dogs to be licensed, which includes a current rabies vaccination. You can get your dog license from the Town Clerk. I'm also told that there's a leash law, and that the animal control officer will be enforcing it. Any dog owners whose dogs are found unlicensed after April 1 will face a $5 fine on top of the licensing fee, as per state law.
The Westport Library Association has some exciting events coming up in April. The library's series of musical evenings continues on Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m., when our own talented and brilliant Russell Ames will deftly deploy his dexterous digits on the newly-donated baby grand. He'll be playing classic show tunes by Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin, and we're all invited to sing along. No one else brings these old favorites to life with Russell's panache, and this promises to be an evening to remember.
The Westport Library will also host two further poetry workshops in April, on Thursday the 15th and Thursday the 29th, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.. Bring seven copies of a poem that you'd like to share, or email it to Judith Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll make copies for you. This is a warm and supportive group that will offer a friendly ear to your work, so it's a great opportunity for budding poets.
Finally, if you haven't already done so, I urge you to get your "911" reflective address placard from the Town Clerk. I'm ashamed to say that I did so only recently. But as a rookie emergency responder, I now understand from experience how much time they can save when you're looking for an unfamiliar address in the dark. You can be fined for not having yours, but more importantly it could make the difference between life and death-for you, or for someone you love.